UN Women - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

United Nations bans female genital mutilation

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Date: 20 December 2012

The United Nations General Assembly today unanimously passed a resolution banning the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. This significant milestone towards the ending of harmful practices and violations that constitute serious threat to the health of women and girls was taken by the 194 UN Member States, who approved five General Assembly resolutions today on advancing women's rights, including one on intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilations (FGM).

Female Genital Mutilation affects about 100-140 million women and girls worldwide, and each year it is estimated that an additional three million girls are at risk of being subjected to the practice globally.

“This is a very important step to bringing about cultural and attitudinal change. Just as important though, is working on the ground with governments, communities and other partners to end FGM. UN Women's experience in Burkina Faso, Benin and other countries shows that while efforts to criminalize FGM are vital, they need to be backed up with services for victims, engaging key influencers and supporting community-based activities to change social norms, as well as practical actions to bring perpetrators to justice, said John Hendra, UN Women Assistant-Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director.

The FGM resolution urges countries to condemn all harmful practices that affect women and girls, in particular female genital mutilations, and to take all necessary measures, including enforcing legislation, awareness-raising and allocating sufficient resources to protect women and girls from this form of violence. It calls for special attention to protect and support women and girls who have been subjected to female genital mutilations, and those at risk, including refugee women and women migrants.

As requested in the Resolution, UN Women will continue working to protect and promote the rights of women and girls against female genital mutilations and to end this harmful practice engaging all parts of society, including governments, civil society, private sector and others.

Related links:

Escaping the scourge of female genital mutilation in Tanzania: a Maasai girls' school provides scholarships for those at risk